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New England's Abolitionist History At Odds With Racist Realities

Here’s the story that New England tells itself: Racism is a Southern problem.

But our region’s abolitionist past hides a darker history of racism, slavery and segregation. It’s a legacy that lives with us today. 

Premieres: Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020

This week, we begin a special radio series on “Racism in New England” — produced by the New England News Collaborative and America Amplified. In this first of four weekly episodes, we’ll focus on New England’s direct involvement and complicity in slavery and white supremacy.

Check your station here for specific air dates in New England.

We also want to hear from you:

  • Is your community segregated? What role does racism play? And what can we do about it?

Leave us a voicemail on our comment line: 860-275-7595. Or email us at AmericaAmplified@nepm.org.

GUESTS:

Don Stevens, chief of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

James DeWolf Perry VI, whose Rhode Island ancestors were among the largest slave traders in American history. He served as a historical consultant for the documentary “Traces of the Trade.”

James W. Loewen, author of “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism” and professor emeritus at the University of Vermont.

Pat Wilson Pheanious, state representative in Connecticut whose ancestors were among the first to be memorialized in the Witness Stones Project that honors enslaved residents of Guilford, Connecticut.

CREDITS:

Hosts: Morgan Springer of NEXT and Traci Griffith
Coordinating Producer: Morgan Springer
Producer: Lydia Brown of Vermont Public Radio
Executive Producer: John Dankosky of America Amplified
Executive Editor: Vanessa de la Torre

Additional support: Connecticut Public, New England Public Media, Vermont Public Radio, Maine Public Radio, New Hampshire Public Radio and CAI Cape and Islands. America Amplified and the New England News Collaborative are funded, in part, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Vanessa de la Torre is executive editor of the New England News Collaborative, a regional hub of nine public media stations producing news and in-depth storytelling throughout New England. Previously, Vanessa was a reporter for Connecticut Public and the public radio collaborative Sharing America, covering issues of race, identity and culture. Before joining the public media world, Vanessa wrote for newspapers such as the Hartford Courant, where her investigative storytelling on Hartford education won regional and national awards. She also was part of the Courant team that was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting. Vanessa grew up in El Centro, Calif., a desert town near the U.S.-Mexico border, and is a graduate of Princeton University. She received her master's degree from Stanford University’s Graduate Program in Journalism.
Morgan Springer is the host/producer for the weekly show NEXT and the New England News Collaborative, a ten-station consortium of public radio newsrooms. She joined WNPR in 2019. Before working at Connecticut Public Radio, Morgan was the news director at Interlochen Public Radio in northern Michigan, where she launched and co-hosted a weekly show Points North.
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